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The thirtieth meeting of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has wrapped up in Turkey.

The IPCC is a world-wide group, established in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization and UN Environment Programme, to assess scientific, technical and socioeconomic information relevant to human-induced climate change. Its reports have been the key milestones of each stage in the climate debate. IPCC has three working groups: WGI assesses physical climate science; WGII assesses the vulnerability of socioeconomic and natural systems to climate change and adaptation options; and WGIII assesses options for mitigation.

Until the Fourth IPCC report in 2007, WGI was the main focus of international work. Now that the IPCC has accepted the reality of human-induced climate change, WGII and WGIII have become the centre of the action. (Although the news coming out of WGI just keeps getting worse.) As part of the shift, the IPCC is now preparing a Special Report on Managing Risks of Disasters and Extreme Events.

The 30th meeting was focussed on planning the Fifth IPCC report, due in 2014. Key issues include:

  1. “regional zooming”, how to provide better understanding of the detailed differences between world regions;
  2. accessibility and inclusion for developing country experts, some being now funded with money from the Nobel Peace Prize; and
  3. clarifying the policy questions that the countries of the world want IPCC to answer.

Meanwhile, there will be more than a dozen other international meetings in the run up to Copenhagen in December, the next meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC.

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